Tag Archives: Outreach

August 2013

Troxel Update August 2013


July was a busy month.  Nenana Community Church hosted the First Ever Gospel Music Festival.

The festival idea bloomed from an encounter last year.  In July 2012, Bud and Carolyn McAtee, of Voices of Peace, took a working vacation to Alaska.  They had started several such festivals all over the Midwest.  They felt a call from God to take this ministry into Alaska.  Upon arriving in Alaska, they contacted several churches in the larger communities of Anchorage, Fairbanks, and outlying areas.  After exhausting those avenues, they started calling churches in rural areas.  We were the first to ask them to come and talk to us more.

The McAtee’s came to Nenana and after time and prayer, we believed that this was something the Lord would have us do.  From there, the McAtee’s were connected to Jeannie Bennett, a friend that is an amazing planner and organizer.  On the Alaskan end, Jeannie did the vast majority of work to make the festival happen.

Returning to this year, the festival took place July 5th and 6th.  There was an open air church service on July 7th.  There were several Alaskan musicians along with many performing groups from the lower 48.  Attendance was around 100 or so, but the McAtee’s experience says that the first festival is a bit under attended with subsequent festivals growing every year.

During this time, the music was aired on the local Christian radio station.  The Scriptures were regularly read from the stage.  The Gospel was presented during the church service.  Now, the Second Annual Nenana Gospel Music Festival is scheduled for July 4th and 5th 2014.

We are eager to see how God will grow this and use it to further his glory.

In sad news, one of our supporting families experienced a terrible loss.  Beverly Hermans passed away this July.  Please join us in praying for her family, especially her husband Chuck.

In family news:

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June 2013

Greetings from Nenana,

Thank you all for your continued support.  Without your prayers and financial gifts, we could not hope for the same impact in ministering here in Nenana.

This winter has brought some exciting changes for our family.  The littlest Troxel is no longer our big girl Emily.  In February, William Earnest Scott Troxel was born.  His birth was much calmer than Emily’s.  We were able to come home and settle in quickly.


That is just the start of the news:

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Long Summer Days

Summer is long on daylight, but short on time. Many things have to get done within just a few short months before winter sets in and the thermometer reads 40 below.

Rebecca wanted a garden last year. Emily’s arrival and time in the hospital rearranged our schedule. This year, Rebecca has vegetables started in several compost heaps. The plants are looking good, but she has plans for next year that need work this year. She has read about “square foot gardening.” The process looks very promising. We need to build the frames for the garden this year to be ready in time next spring.

Project Overhaul is a ministry of our friends, the Bennett’s. The Bennett’s arrange for groups to help clean up yards and haul away refuse. The goal is to help folks be proud of where we live and make the village even more attractive. The last work crew had 9 people aged 10 to 82. A nice long day of work ended with free lunch.

The family also enjoys taking long walks in the evening. We get a chance to stretch our legs, walk the dogs, and visit with folks as e cross paths. Thirty minute strolls have a way of becoming 2 hour blocks of time. We see the hand of God at work making appointments for us as we meet up with friends and neighbors for a little fellowship. We even get our exercise at the same time.

There are a couple of items, we ask you for prayer:

First, we are outgrowing our car. Our vehicle seats 2 in the front and 3 in the back. The back seat is a bit tight with a car seat, 11 year old, and soon to be 14 year old. Also, we are hopeful that we will be blessed with another little one. There is no positive news yet, but maybe soon! So, we are tightly packed now and a new baby would fill our car to overflowing. A vehicle also has to be suited to harsh driving conditions with long and cold winters as well as reasonable mileage for the distances we must travel. Please pray for the right vehicle without going into debt.

Second, the church is full. We have 45 seats and 40+ people filling them. We arranged seats differently and think we can fit in a few more. Some may remember that we rent our meeting place. We are blessed to have such a great relationship with the senior center, but we are praying for the funds and materials to build our own church. We have a piece of land and some money raised, but only enough to prepare the property and pour a slab. Recently, a visitor from another church in Alaska offered to donate some lumber when the time is right. Please pray for the Lord’s provision to build a church debt free.

As always, thank you for your many prayers and your financial support. Our ability to minister to God’s people is because of your partnership with us. Thank you for being co-laborers with us as we seek to glorify God in service.

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September Update

Fall seems past and winter upon us. The temperatures in Nenana are below freezing at night and not much warmer during the day. We have had our first snowfall of the year, but it was light and has mostly melted away. In a short time we will have snow sticking until next spring.

September has Aerin and Ethan back in school. Aerin is in junior high now and has new braces. In her father’s mind she is still toddling around with baby curls, but she has grown into a young lady seemingly overnight. She is now a leader in training (LIT) in our AWANA program and doing very well. Ethan is busy figuring out what he wants to do for the science fair. His mechanical mind is looking at some means to use gears and create a display showing the different ways they can be used.

Rebecca had a great time at the Valdez quilt festival with her good friend Mary. They enjoyed some ladies only time. Rebecca was really busy this month planning a family vacation in California and Washington. We have a missions conference to attend soon in Washington so we have saved up some money to take a vacation and take the kids to Disneyland.

Rebecca appreciated all the prayers as this month marked the due date for the baby that miscarried last February. However, we still intend to add to the number of Troxel’s in the world and we hope to share good news with everyone perhaps in the months to come.

Rebecca is back as secretary of our AWANA program. She keeps the club running smoothly and the commander (me) would not want to do without her help. She has already found some new and fun things for our club and we expect to have them shipped to us any day.

I am the new commander and game leader for our AWANA club. My joy as commander is seeing the AWANA leaders and LITs (leaders in training) busy working with the little ones. All of my AWANA workers are a joy to work with and take their ministry to kids to heart. As game leader, I am having a blast. Our two main rules for games is 1. to have fun and 2. to make lots of noise. At an AWANA workshop, we were reminded that when kids can exercise several major muscle groups it helps them stay focused and alert for story time and helps them memorize verses better. My personal assistant/LIT, Leon, is a big help and it is a joy to work with this young man.

Other big events this month included a city wide celebration of national sobriety month. Alcohol and drug addiction impacts many rural areas, so local citizens take this time to celebrate those who have become sober and to encourage others. The town event is called “Dancing in the Streets.” The main host is Railbelt Mental Health and Addictions (a wonderful office full of people who offer counseling services to the entire area.) The point person was Maryellen and she did a bang up job organizing the event.

The motto for Dancing in the Streets this year was “Mooving into Recovery.” The moos were supplied by a local cow with the motto emblazoned on a sign she wore. The event coordinators also wanted someone to wear a cow costume in the parade and that honor was mine.

Check out the pictures

Also this month, my health was a little rocky with my liver condition. Thank you for the prayers. I am feeling much better now. Praise be to God!

As always, we are so thankful to God for calling us to serve him by serving the people of Nenana Community Church and living in the wonderful town of Nenana. Thank you to our financial and prayer supporters. You are our partners in the work of the Lord. Thank you to the church – you folks are a blessing to us and we hope we are a blessing in return. Thank you to Nenana – we love where we live and thank God for Nenana and all who live here.

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July Update

Is July already gone?

July is almost over. August is just around the bend. We can see Autumn on its way and snow is coming soon.

Summer in Alaska is wonderful and beautiful. The flowers and mountains and rivers show us the beautiful handiwork of our Father in heaven. We are so blessed to live in a place so full of beauty.

Independence Day is always a great time in Nenana. We were so thankful that the festivities were held on the 3rd, so as not to interrupt church services. The day started with a free breakfast and special recognition service held at the Verhagen family’s building – the Nenana Conference Center. The food was delicious. The speakers were eloquent. Veterans had an opportunity to share, as did all who owe such a great debt to the men and women who place themselves in harm’s way so that we can enjoy freedom.

The day was marked with games and races for kids of all ages. There were lot’s of chances to enjoy ice cream, pizza and other food. The main street into town was packed with fellow Nenanans, Alaskans, and many tourists here to help us celebrate our independence.

The Troxel family got to take a few days away with Rebecca’s folks. We enjoyed a beautiful cabin owned by family friends. The cabin has an amazing view of Mt McKinley right out the living room picture window. We enjoyed a time of rest and family fun. We are so thankful to the Rasmussen’s for their invitation to use their cabin.

The Troxel parents took a mini break too. Rebecca and I went to Fairbanks for two days and stayed at a wonderful little inn. Aerin stayed with our friends the Chapmans and Ethan stayed with our friends the Blairs. So they got a break from us too. Rebecca and I got to eat at restaurants that do not advertise a playland or playground in the building – nor do they serve any food labeled as “fast.” The rest and relaxation were very nice. We are certain that we have found a new family tradition. We hope to take a mini break like this every 6 months or so from now on.

This month, we had another freecycle at our home. The Nenana Freecycle is like a free rummage sale. People bring items they no longer need and everyone gets to take home a new to them treasure. Any leftover items are then taken to a thrift store in Fairbanks. We had a lot of people come by the house. We were blessed with an abundance of food. The grill ran non stop for several hours, serving up hamburgers, hotdogs, and salmon.

The last week of July has been marked with several visitors. St Mark’s Church in Nenana is hosting their annual vacation Bible school with the help of summer missionaries from the lower 48. The VBS is always great and its good to see our friends from down south again. The Nenanan Community Church kids have been so anxious to get to the VBS. It does a pastor’s heart good to see the young people eager to take time to learn from God’s word and to have fun while doing it.

We also have a short term missions group in the town volunteering as work teams. They are with Global Expeditions and come from all over the continental US. One of the young men comes from Iowa, not too far from where I grew up. We lamented together about the heat and humidity in Iowa while enjoying the beautiful Alaska weather. Part of the team came to the parsonage and helped us by painting our deck. Several planks have been replaced and the rest needed a touch up. What a blessing to see young people serving God in Alaska.

Well, July is about wrapped up. Aerin and I are looking forward to our birthdays this next month. She is going to be the ripe old age of 12 and is going into junior high school this fall. The church will be meeting to plan for our AWANA program which will resume when school is back in session. We still need to get a chicken coop built for the chickens we are raising this summer. We hope to have fresh eggs by mid September.

We feel especially blessed to be serving God and his church in Nenana. Please pray for us – for wisdom and ministry opportunities as we live our faith in the wonderful town of Nenana.

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Ministry of Help

While many Christians enjoy the blessings of serving others, we need to allow ourselves to be ministered to as well. When we fail to allow others to minister to us, we rob them of the joy of service and ourselves of enjoying being a part of the body of Christ. Today, the Troxels enjoyed being a part of the joy of a ministry team in Nenana.

The team is part of Global Expeditions: Teen Mania. The team was: Mark, Callie, Lydia, Robin (and Jimmy and Tana came by too.)

Today, they are serving us by painting our deck. The deck was recently repaired by our awesome landlords. I volunteered to paint the deck again. However, summer is a busy time and I had yet to get around to putting my paint brush to work. So, today several brushes are making lighter work.

I too get to enjoy a bit of ministry in this. I love running the grill. So today, I get to feed my new friends some grilled salmon, some real sourdough bread as well as some veggies and cool aid.

What an incredible blessing to be part of the family of God! What a blessing to be served by young people who long to serve their Risen Lord by serving his people! Don’t rob yourself or others of such blessings. Serve and be willing to be served.

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Rational Faith?

Recently I came across an article written by a Christian research scientist and professor. The article examines the faith of the scientist since many atheists claim one cannot be a Christian and be intelligent too. The article is laid out in an outline form and was written up for use in the author’s church.

I wanted to add the article and ask for comments – what do you think about the claims of the author?

Can a Thinking Person Be a Christian?


Michael A. Covington – Beech Haven Baptist Church – 2006 June 13

1. When I was young, I thought that as I became more educated, I’d have to either abandon traditional Christianity or start ignoring evidence. As I grew older I learned that:

a. The claims of Christ survive all the intellectual tests I can put them to;

b. If they did not, they would not be worth believing.

c. Very few people have actually become non-Christians because of intellectual arguments. Mostly, they take it on authority that someone else has disproved the Gospel… or they fall away from Christ first and then look for rational justification. (Behavior first, then intellect.)

2. It makes no sense to be a semi-Christian, to just “draw inspiration” from the Gospel without actually believing it.

a. Why should I “draw inspiration” from Christ rather than somebody else?

b. Christ didn’t present himself as a source of “inspiration.” He claimed to be God. Either he was God, or he was not a sane man! (Some say he didn’t actually claim to be God. Well, his followers certainly thought he did, from a very early stage.)

3. So why shouldn’t I be a Christian? Some non-objections:

Click to Read the Entire Article

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